Get a Dutch phone number

That sounds useless but actually, it's not for anyone willing to settle in the Netherlands.

Well, it could be seen as optional if you plan on paying cash most of the time (remember, not all shops accept VISA credit card !), if you don't want to have any Dutch bank account, which, by extension, prevents public transport subscription (among others) and might prevent your employer to pay you.

I'll only describe "basic", most affordable phone subscriptions. A sine qua non condition is the possibility to terminate the contract whenever I like (well, not everyone wants to stay at least a year). That leaves us with prepaid (or rechargeable) SIM cards since phone subscriptions need the subscriber to have a Dutch account... which in turn needs a Dutch phone number.

Here are two phone providers present in the Netherlands:

  • Lebara

It's a well-known phone provider available world-wide and which allows to call or send messages to foreign countries at low cost. They're also famous for their 10=20 (or 20=40 or even 50=110) offer which means for a 10€ reload, you get 20€ in credit (isn't it amazing?). Moreover, calls between Lebara users are free!

Their SIM card is available almost everywhere and is free (but always bundled with credit, so actually not free).

You can find all rates here: http://www.lebara.nl/prepaid/Tarieven. For your information, calls to France costs 15cts/min to fixed lines and 39cts/min to mobiles.

  • *bliep

*bliep is a new contender and I present it because it's the one I've chosen. This phone provider works as daily subscription. Thus, you pay a subscription which allows you to do different things between midnights. You've three different subscriptions and one option:

  • 0€ subscription: you can freely receive phone calls and messages. You can use your free minutes offered with a reload or pay 25cts/min.
  • 0.50€ subscription: you have unlimited (2GB) access to Internet but with limited speed, you can send unlimited messages to Dutch numbers and phone with free minutes offered with a reload or unlimited calls with *bliep users
  • 1€ subscription: same as 0.50€ subscription but with unlimited calls to all Dutch numbers
  • 0.50€ option to get unlimited (max 3.6Mb/s) Internet speed

When reloading your SIM card, let say with 10€, *bliep offers you 10min call credit (in addition to what your subscription offers).

The biggest drawbacks are the documentation and official papers only delivered in Dutch and the struggle to get one *bliep SIM card (ThePhoneHouse sells it). The SIM card costs 10€ and can be found in shops for 20€ with 10€ worth of credits.

You can change between subscriptions via their app or by sending a message to a (free) special phone number.

You can find the different rates (in Dutch) here: https://www.bliep.nl/#roaming

Don't forget most of French phone providers offer the ability to use your French phone subscription from anywhere in Europe 35 days in a year. Check if your phone provider offers it before subscribing anything.

I voluntarily did not include LycaMobile because of bad reviews (here, here and here).